Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

OPINION: Destin Conrad’s new album redefines R&B

OPINION: Destin Conrad’s new album redefines R&B
Ruth Brown

Typically, when you think of R&B artists from our generation, artists like Summer Walker, Kehlani, SZA, Brent Faiyaz, Lucky Daye, and Ambré come to mind. Destin Conrad’s album, “Submissive,” opens R&B in a way that makes it much more expansive and freer than the genre sound we’re used to.

Conrad released a second part of the “Submissive” album, titled “Submissive 2,” on January 19. If that isn’t exciting enough, Conrad’s first headline tour starts next month, February 4th, with Amaria, an alternative neo-soul R&B artist from Tampa. For one night only on this tour, New Orleans’ very own R&B artist Ambré will be joining Conrad on February 11th. Conrad has shown off his ability to collaborate with other fresh R&B artists through the artists featured on both “Submissive” and “Submissive 2.” These collaborations include Jordan Ward, an up-and-coming R&B artist from St. Louis who toured with 6LACK the past year, Masego, who is known for his saxophone instrumentals, and R&B artist Alex Isley.

Within “Submissive,” Conrad explores various sounds and genres like Latin music, jazz, reggae, and rock alternatives. He continues to produce the chilled R&B sounds that he has excelled at in the past.

The first track “Mariposa” sets the tone for the rest of the album. With the enchanting sounds of the instrumentals, inspired by the Latin genre, paired with Conrad’s vocals, it’s a song that you can easily get lost in.

Other tracks within the album that showcase Conrad’s genre exploration and the vastness of R&B include “Low Tide,” “Luv N Devotion,” and “Tantrum!” The third track, “Low Tide,” an exemplary R&B-styled song, is contemplative as it deals with Conrad’s feelings about an unrequited love, with the theme of longing. His smooth vocals, paired with the soulful melody, and the saxophone’s subtle sounds contribute to the song’s melancholy tone. What makes this song different from your average R&B track is the instrumentals that you don’t typically hear a slow drum beat paired with a saxophone in the background in the genre.

The fourth track, “Luv N Devotion,” is a groovy song with a reggae rhythm and an infectiously catchy chorus. The song deals with themes of love and commitment to a partner, and Conrad’s heartfelt delivery of his lyrics give the listeners something to dance to and vibe with.

The fifth track, “Tantrum!,” stands out. Its upbeat tempo and playful lyrics about desire and power dynamics in a relationship are heightened by the repetitive drum beat and bass guitar which easily engages listeners.

A second part to Conrad’s “Submissive” was released Friday, January 19. In “Submissive 2,” he continues to explore new sounds. For example, in the third song titled “It’s Only You,” Conrad’s use of a synth electronic production paired with the lyrics is what makes this song especially unique.

The seventh track of “Submissive,” is “If I Lie,” which switches up the tempo of the guitar from the first verse to the second one. In the first verse, the tempo is at an even pace, then with the chorus. During the second verse, the pace becomes quicker along with the delivery of the lyrics.

Conrad’s “Submissive” album is a testament to his creativity. His ability to incorporate various genres within this project could be a model for other R&B artists in the future. Conrad’s blending of multiple genres must activate a conversation about the new genre of R&B.

This isn’t to say that the original R&B sound and genre is “old” or “repetitive” in its themes, lyrics, or production. Trust me, I’m an R&B girl through and through, and with artists from our generation like Destin Conrad, R&B is on its way to redefining itself. With the pulling and mixing of different genres, this could mean a new wave of R&B.

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About the Contributor
Ruth Brown, Senior Staff Illustrator
Ruth Brown is a Senior Staff Illustrator on The Maroon. She is a freshman majoring in English alongside a teacher's certification program. In her free time, she likes to go on walks in Audubon park. Ruth can be reached at [email protected].

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  • C

    Chelsea LorraineeFeb 12, 2024 at 12:40 am

    Absolutely a beautiful piece well written, indeed R&B is so beautiful and versatile and it’s absolutely stunning hearing different flowing from artists and their stories. A huge fan of all the artists mentioned <3. Wonderful article.

  • D

    Dave JacksonJan 30, 2024 at 11:49 am

    Very insightful article! I’m not a big contemporary R & B fan, but you’ve inspired me to explore Mr. Conrad’s new album. Thank you!!
    -Dave, Wash, DC